Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Smiths-Complete

The U.K. arm of Rhino Records has released The Smiths — Complete, a “super deluxe collectors’ box set” that features remastered versions of the band’s eight albums on both CD and 180-gram audiophile vinyl, plus all 25 of the group’s singles on individual 7-inches — as well as prints, posters and a DVD of music videos.

Packaged in a “heavyweight trunk” and limited to 3,000 copies worldwide, the colossal box set is slated to ship Oct. 3, and is priced at $410 — through It’s not yet clear whether Rhino’s U.S. operation also will release the Smiths collection.

The heart of the set are the band’s eight albums — The Smiths, Meat is Murder, The Queen is Dead and Strangeways Here We Come, plus compilations Hatful of Hollow, The World Won’t Listen and Louder Than Bombs, and the live album Rank — that have been remastered by guitarist Johnny Marr and engineer Frank Arkwright from “the original tape sources.”

In a statement announcing the release, Marr is quoted as saying, “I’m very happy that the remastered versions of The Smiths albums are finally coming out. I wanted to get them sounding right and remove any processing so that they now sound as they did when they were originally made. I’m pleased with the results.”

According to Rhino, The Smiths — Complete includes the following:
  • All eight albums on CD featuring mini-LP replica packaging with gatefold card wallets
  • All eight albums on 180-gram audiophile vinyl (five single LPs and three doubles)
  • Twenty-five 7-inches featuring all of the band’s singles with “specially reproduced rarities”
  • A 36-inch by 24-inch poster of all album and single cover artwork
  • “The Complete Picture” DVD featuring all of the band’s music videos
  • An eight-page, 12-inch booklet featuring “expanded liner notes”
  • Eight-inch by 12-inch art prints of each album cover’s artwork
  • Code to download band’s entire catalog as high-quality, 320kbps MP3 files
Marr’s remasterings of the four original studio albums were released on vinyl in 2009, and the Smiths’ 7-inch singles have been collected in a box set already, as well — both of which ex-frontman Morrissey has urged fans not to buy, claiming he wouldn’t see any money from them.

This new set, however, marks the first time the new remasterings are being released on CD, albeit without any bonus material appended. Previously, the work by Marr and Arkwright only was available on Rhino’s 2CD compilation The Sound of the Smiths, released in 2008.

For fans not prepared to pay $400, Rhino U.K. also is releasing a limited-edition vinyl box set — just 1,000 copies worldwide — that features the eight albums on 180-gram vinyl, plus the liner-notes booklet and poster. That set retails for $245.
There also will be a CD-only box set for about $57.

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